The Grim Holiday Tradition Of Counting Baltimore’s Murder Victims

Hot Air | 12/15/2018 | Staff
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Yesterday, the Baltimore Police Department confirmed that another body dropped on the streets of Charm City had brought their 2018 murder total to 297. The unnamed victim was a known gang member, described by police as “a former Public Enemy No. 1” and had been acquitted of a firebombing over the summer. Given the city’s recent history, the odds of there not being at least three more killings over the next sixteen days are not encouraging, to put it mildly.

If this plays out as expected, it will represent four years running where the death toll has exceeded 300, and that’s during a period of time when the city’s population has been declining. But as the Baltimore Sun reminds us, things weren’t always this bad.

Baltimore - Homicides - Year - Number - Year

Baltimore had fewer than 300 homicides a year from 2000 through 2014, when the number was 211. But in 2015, the year of Freddie Gray’s death and ensuing unrest, homicides surged to 342. In 2016, the total remained over 300. Last year, amid declining population, 342 killings represented the highest number of killings per capita.

The violence has left broken families and damaged communities. Throughout Baltimore, streets are dotted with stray crime scene tape left from past shootings, or collections of deflated Mylar balloons and stuffed animals memorializing the dead.

Ways - Times - Arrests - Things - Decrease

“It is in some ways very discouraging. There are times where there are arrests made, we see things decrease and spike, but often times it seems like a steady stream,” said City Councilman John Bullock, who represents parts of West Baltimore.

There was a time during the spring and early summer when I’d begun to hope that things were turning around. Community groups sponsoring “murder-free weekends” had actually managed to stop the killing for up to four days at a time. (If you live in a more rural or suburban...
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